Monday, October 09, 2006

[Tech] Human Computation

I've found a very interesting and very funny video from one of Google's Tech Talks and it concerns a problem which was discussed earlier in this blog: is it a problem to use the labor of internet users or consumers without compensation? Well, Luis von Ahn has found clearly a way to compensate humans for computation and the currency is: fun. He invented the theory of symmetrical and asymmetrical verification games and designed until now three games to use human computation cycles for work which is nearly impossible to be solved by computers. The first one, ESP, is used to label images correctly. The second one, Peekaboom, is used to find the correct areas inside an image where specific features which are asked by their notion. The last one, Verbosity, targets the problem to find syntactically and semantically connections for terms. What is really fascinating is, the people like to be part of the game! They use hours and hours of time to play this games and get score points. They all know about the concept of the game, but that does not matter. So the technique that Luis von Ahn and his colleagues invented is a really unique and genius way to use humans as part of an program to solve the really tough problems.
So is it a problem to use people as processing units if they have fun? At least in the Matrix, they were also very happy ...
And by the way, the style of the presentation is simple admirable (even compared what I've seen at JAOO).

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1 comment:

Martin Murth said...

A must see!